Shauna’s academic journey

Cross-posted from PhD Over Easy

The flip side of the PhD


I’ve been doing academic research for about ten years now, and recently decided to leave. Until this year, I was actively asserting my plans to pursue a career in academic research. I wanted to be a professor with a lab. I had remained enthusiastic about research through the tough times, and leading my own lab with control over grand questions and a niche to fill in the expanse of human knowledge seemed like the perfect career to strive for, even if it was still far into the future. But as a first-year postdoc entering my 30s, the truth of what that ambition entailed finally settled in: as an average-at-best scientist, I’d need at least 5 to 10 more years as a productive postdoc (or staff scientist under a PI) with a couple of those years filled with job applications, concerns about the two-body problem, and if an academic job offer…

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